Tuesday, July 29, 2014

August prayers

This month Crescent Hill church will pray with and for:

On Sunday, August 3, and the week thereafter: Altar de Noe church in El Estor’s Los Cerritos neighborhood, Pastor Raul Contreras Tut and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, August 10, and the week thereafter: Espiritu Santo church in El Estor’s San Marcos neighborhood, Pastor José Domingo Xo Ical and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

On Sunday, August 17, and the week thereafter: Monte Sinai church in the village of San Carlos El Pouvenir outside of Puerto Barrios, Pastor José Sub and family, and elders, deacons, and members.

On Sunday, August 24, and the week thereafter: Hijo del Dios Viviente church in the village of La Guitarra, Pastor Fidel Juc and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, August 31, and during the week thereafter: El Buen Samaritano church in El Estor’s Nueva Amanacer neighborhood, Pastor Antonio Choc, and members, deacons, and elders.

Follow-up from the Welches

Estimado hermanos,

Gracias a Dios, pude hacer citas para entrevistas para los tres viajeros, Rosa Marina, Raúl, Byron, y Ramiro. Según el documento adjunto, sus citas empiezan en la embajada de los estados unidos a las 7:00 por la mañana, martes, 5 de augusto. Asegúrese de imprimir el documento de confirmación, y la carta desde la IENPG antes de salieron para sus entrevistas. Cada persona debe tener su pasaporte, DPI, copia de la página de confirmación de visa aplicación, su carta de invitación desde Iglesia Crescent Hill, y copias de los dos documentos adjuntos. Ustedes son las únicas personas con direcciones de correo electrónico. ¿Pueden compartir este información con hermana Rosa Marina y hermano Raúl y confirmar ellos tienen todos los documentos necesario? Si ellos faltan algunas documentos, Por favor llámeme por teléfono o email para que puedo tratar de encontrarlos.

Contactaré mi buena amiga hermana Leslie Vogel a preguntarla si ella estará disponible el 5 de augusto para ayudarles si necesitan. Infortunadamente, Debbie y yo estaremos en los estados unidos cuando ustedes tienen sus entrevistas.

Ramiro, yo pagué gastos para:

Aplicaciones para visas: Q1,264 x 4 = Q5,056
Pasaporte para Rosa Marina: Q234.30
Taxi ir y vuelta desde oficina del Sínodo a la oficina de pasaportes: Q80
Taxi para Rosa Marina (a Centra Norte) : Q60

¿Puede poner este en mi cuenta de BAM? Si es posible, puedo enviarte el número de mi cuenta.

¡Buena suerte hermanos y hermana en sus entrevistas y su viaje!

Ricardo y Debbie Welch
PC(USA) Trabajadores en Misión – Guatemala

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thankfully, I was able to make appointments for interviews for the three travelers, Rosa Marina, Raul, Byron, and Ramiro. According to the attachment, appointments start at the embassy of the United States at 7:00 in the morning, Tuesday, 5 august. Be sure to print the confirmation document and the letter from the IENPG before departure for your interviews. Each person must have his passport, DPI, a copy of the confirmation page of visa application, letter of invitation from Church Crescent Hill, and copies of the two attachments. You are the only people with email addresses. Please share this information with sister and brother Raul Rosa Marina and confirm they have all the necessary documents? If they are missing some documents, Please contact me by phone or email so that I can try to find them.

I'll contact my good friend Leslie Vogel sister to ask her if she will be available on 5 august to help if needed. Unfortunately, Debbie and I will be in the U.S. when you have your interviews.

Ramiro, paid expenses for:

Applications for visas: Q1, Q5 x 4 = 264, 056
Passport to Rosa Marina: Q234.30
Taxi trip from my office Synod to the passport office: Q80
Taxi to Rosa Marina (North Centra): Q60

Can you put this in my BAM account? If possible, I can send you my account number.

Good luck brothers and sister in his interviews and his journey!

Richard and Debbie Welch

PC (USA) Mission Workers - Guatemala

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dangerously close

The guys made it here to the Synod office, passports in hand, and we slugged through all the applications and got them filled out and submitted. In order to schedule the interviews we needed to pay the $160 per application first. We tried to speed up the process by paying for them all using my PayPal account, but it turns out the embassy still has you wait until after 1:00 PM the next business day. Ramiro is going to put the money in our BAM account when he gets back to El Estor. I would have liked to have the interviews scheduled before everyone scattered, but I have phone numbers for all and email addresses for two of them. Hopefully we can tie this all up on Monday from Cobán.

You’re right about the fact that Jane’s statement in her letters of invitation clearly identifies who is paying for the trip. I’m really not sure why we got the request for a letter stating who is paying when it was stated in the stuff I already uploaded to them. In response to their request for “a letter from the organization in Guatemala”, I cobbled a letter together from Jane’s letters of invitation, changed some of the verbiage to make it a letter from the IENPG, had it printed on IENPG stationary, and had Isaias sign it (a scanned copy is attached for your records). Hopefully it will meet the requirements they are looking to fulfill.

I think we’re getting dangerously close to getting this done. The guys, as well as Rosa Marina, are a little concerned about the fact that we won’t be able to be with them when they go in for their interviews, but Ramiro thinks they can handle it OK. When I get their interview dates I’ll let Leslie know just in case she’s around when they come into town. She may be available to accompany them, but I was glad to hear that they think they can handle it on their own.

That’s about it. It’s been a pretty full day. We’re heading back to Cobán tomorrow.

Blessings to you all!

Richard and Debbie Welch

On her way?

Rosa Marina came to town early so we spent the morning at the passport office and the afternoon huddled over my laptop at the IENPG office filling out the online visa application. She's on her way back to Puerto Barrios.

The other brothers are due tomorrow. We're praying everything goes as smoothly as today. So far so good. I set the group up for interviews and uploaded digital copies of Jane's letters to the visa application web site. I'm still waiting for the interview date. I'll let you know when we have that.

Big Shout Out to the IENPG staff (Isaias Garcia and his team) they did all they could to make Marina comfortable when Debbie and I were out getting our visas taken care of. They made copies of documents and printed Marina's application for her so she could have a copy for herself. They also gave us a room to work in and access to their WI-FI so we could do the application. Very cool folks. You all should write them a note of thanks.

Anyway, keep praying for good progress  and a favorable interview date.


Richard Welch

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Puzzling over the visit

Trip planning, especially for an international one, is not easy.  In fact, putting all the pieces together so the whole puzzle is completed often takes the help of many people. That’s why CHPC’s Guatemala Partnership Group needs your help. The plan is to bring four representatives from the Q’eqchi’ Estoreno Izabal Presbytery, which is part of the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala (IENPG), to Louisville and Southern Indiana Oct. 4-13.

Early this month, the outline of a puzzle will be on the bulletin board in our church’s gathering room off the narthex.  Below it will be puzzle pieces with specific tasks that volunteers are needed to complete either before or during our partners’ trip. The idea is to choose a task you will commit to do, write your name on the back of the puzzle piece and affix it to the puzzle outline. This will be a visible way for all of us to see what work tasks have been taken and what things we still need volunteers to do.

Some early urgent needs include:
·         Being on a team to park cars on the church lot on Saturday, August 9, from 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. during the St. Joseph’s Picnic to raise money for air fares for our partners. (Call Perry Chang at 457-7833.)
·         Meeting with the Guatemalan Partnership Group on Saturday, August 16 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 pm at the Castleberry/Zuniga home. New people with new ideas are welcome in discussions of trip details and covering any additional trip expenses. An added bonus is we usually talk with some of our partners by phone or Skype to share ideas and our “joys and concerns” prayers. (Call Soni Castleberry at 417-6481.) Follow up meetings will be Thursday, September 11 at 6 p.m. at CHPC and Saturday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., place to be determined.
·         Representing CHPC at PCUSA’s Guatemala Mission Network meeting Tuesday, September 2 – Friday, September 5 at Cedar Ridge Camp. Attending any part of it to listen, learn and share what other groups are doing nationwide would be a great benefit. (Call Perry Chang at 457-7833.)

The Estoreño Presbytery and our church have been involved in a presbytery-to-congregation partnership for the past six years.  Members of CHPC have visited El Estor and the surrounding area four times, and three representatives from the presbytery visited here in December 2011.
One goal of this trip is getting more of our members and visitors involved in the Guatemalan Partnership by getting to know some of our partners while they are here.

We are planning for four representatives to come. All are currently working on getting passports and visas for the trip and many prayers are being made that the U.S. government will approve all four to come. Believing that will be true, we hope you will begin learning their names and how they are involved with the presbytery. They include:

·          Ramiro Quib Caal who also came on the last visit. Ramiro is the treasurer of the presbytery as well as an elder of the Arca de Noe church in El Estor, Izabal.  He and his family live in El Estor. 

·         The Rev. Raul Contreras Tut who is the secretary of the presbytery and also the pastor of the Altar de Noe church in El Estor, Izabal.  He and his family also live in El Estor and hosted our pastor on one of our trips to Guatemala.

·         Rosa Marina Tacaj Pop is an organizer for the presbytery’s Presbyterian Women organization. She is also a deacon of the Monte Sinai church in San Carlos El Pourvenir, Puerto Barrios where she and her family live.

·         Byron Ottoniel Pop Paau is the president of the youth and young adult organization of the presbytery. He is also a deacon of the Arca de Noe church in El Estor, Izabal where he and his family live.


July gathering notes

No big video conference with folks in Guatemala but some urgency about fund-raising developed out of the July Guatemala gathering.  Doug and Rene spoke briefly but Rene told us little we hadn’t already heard.  No video conference was possible partly because Ramiro was on a truck run to Guatemala City and Rene wasn’t able to reach Pastor Raul Contreras.  We also tried and failed to reach Rosa Marina.  It seems that it’s gout that may be bothering Gerardo.  Apparently the death in Ramiro’s family was last week.  “Momentum” seems to be developing in the four presbytery representatives’ (Raul Contreras, Ramiro, Byron, and Rosa Marina) quest for passports and visas.  Richard Welch had reported to Crescent Hill folks earlier that he and Debby had been trying to help them and hoped that they would meet them in Guatemala City on Friday, July 18, as they tried to obtain passports and possibly visas.  Peter remarked that if Richard and Debby could at least help them with the online visa application/appointment-making process before leaving for the United States hours or days later, that would be great.  Earlier Richard had talked about the possibility of handing the torch over to another PC(USA) mission co-worker if the four did not all have visas in hand by July 18.

The group also talked about a proposed schedule next couple of months including the Guatemalans’ proposed visit and fund-raising for that.

This a version of the draft schedule that Soni and Perry had prepared, which the group generally affirmed:

Sunday, August 2, at 11:00 a.m.:  Guatemalan visit task “puzzle” deployed/unveiled - CHPC
Saturday, August 8, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.:  St. Joe’s parking – CHPC
Saturday, August 16, at 11:00 a.m.:  Guatemala gathering – place TBA
Tuesday, September 2-Friday, September 5:  Guatemala Mission Network gathering – Cedar Ridge Camp
Thursday, September 11, at 6:00 p.m.:  Guatemala gathering – CHPC
Saturday, September 27, at 11:00 a.m.:  Guatemala gathering – place TBA
Saturday, October 4-Monday, October 13:  Guatemalan partner visit – Kentuckiana, etc.

The group talked about the St. Joe’s fund-raiser, including the news that the church would cover the cost of security by an off-duty law-enforcement officer, and agreed to try to have people in place, charging $5 between 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., an then $10 after that (with night crew having the option to lower the price).  It seems possible there could be four shifts:  11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 2:30 to 5:00 p.m., 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., and 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.  Peter agreed to help lead from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Soni and Brad the 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. crew.  Having two or three or four people volunteering at a time – using cell phones – would be good. 

The group talked about the need to raise more funds – with CHPC conservatism about fund-raising efforts outside of unified pledge giving and Better Space giving and the imminent reconstruction/inaccessibility of the Education Building/Young Hall would complicate.  A Guatemalan meal and silent auction had been discussed, but the reconstruction might complicate that.  Lagging financial giving might complicate a direct Minute for Mission pitch.  More subtle might be including giving to the trip opportunities in the puzzle design giving CHPC people opportunities to be involved in the visit.  Opportunities to raise by an ongoing (weekly?) yard sale – mainly for CHPC folks – was also considered.

The group talked about possibilities for a visit schedule.  Devoting less time to sightseeing and more time talking – including partnership planning? – was stressed.  Giving the visitors more time to rest/reflect and more choices of activities – along with some specific suggestions – were also discussed.  Soni also reminded the group that a number of people who were widely available during the 2011 visit might not be so widely available (and one out of town altogether).  People who have been broadly interested in Guatemala mission but who may not have been available for regular meetings may come forward, but Soni agreed to invite Shannon Beck and Ginna Bairby to the Saturday, August 16 gathering.

The group also talked about possible involvement by CHPC folks in the early September Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Guatemala Mission Network gathering.  Several people expressed interest in attending, and possibly for helping plan it.


Friday, July 11, 2014

July gathering

Find out what ails Pastor Gerardo and how badly the earthquake hit Guatemala this week and help decide how Crescent Hill and Guatemala folks will spend time together in Kentuckiana this fall.  Gather from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this Saturday, July 12, at the Yeager family’s place at 206 Cornell Place in St. Matthews.  Everyone is welcome.  A Skype conversation with Guatemalan friends is expected.